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Monday, September 30, 2013

Darshan after 18 years - Part 1 to 5

Darshan after 18 years - Part 1
I heard the name of Sadguru Chandrashekhar Swami belonging to Kanchi for the first time in 1961. My grandfather late Dr.Harihar Gangadhar Moghe’s disciple late Keshavaram, wrote him informing that he needs Shri Sankaracharyal swami’s and Shri Dakshinamoorthy’s hand-drawn pictures. “Shashi is studying in Art school. Would she draw the pictures?”, he had enquired. Along with the letter he had sent the photos of Sadguru Swami and Dakshinamurthy.

My grandfather Dr. Moghe was well versed in music. He had taught music to prof Keshavaram and to me also. As per the desire of my grandfather and also the brother disciple, I drew the pictures and sent them to Shri Keshavaram. He put those pictures before the Mahaswami. Swamiji touched those pictures with his hand and returned them to Keshavaram. “Dakshinamurthy’s picture has been drawn in a fine way. It is really difficult to draw the eyes of Dakshinamurthi”, remarked Swamiji. I felt very happy.

My grandfather was a student of various subjects. He had a deep knowledge of the Vedanta. He told me something about Mahaswamigal with profound regard. Whatever my truth seeking grandfather told me was nothing but the truth. It was my firm belief. He talked about Mahaswamigal with great respect. So I felt like having Mahaswami’s darshan. But the circumstances were not favourable. Within two years Dr.Moghe breathed his last. And my desire of having Mahaswami’s darshan at Kanchi remained unfulfilled.

Approximately after 18 years, I got an opportunity to go to south India with my relatives. The object of journey was not the sight seeing or observing the beauty of nature. The real purpose was to have darshan of Mahaswamigal. On reaching Kanchi we learnt that Mahaswamigal had left for touring the northern part. He was not in Kanchi Mutt. I was disappointed. I had missed the opportunity of having His darshan. Swamiji never performed the journey in a vehicle. Travelling on foot Swamiji had reached Belgaum. Since all the tickets for our return journey had been booked, we could not change the plans. This happened in the month of May 1978.

In Nov of 1979, I learnt that Mahaswamigal is somewhere near to Maharashtra. The unfulfilled desire came to the fore. I enquired with number of persons but none had any information. Swamiji was not known to people at that time in Maharashtra.

My yearning for darshan made me restless. It crossed all limits. So much so that many a time stopping along the road I used to enquire with the priest, the guru, the temple priest, but none had any information. “Where is Kanchi Mutt?’ people used to enquire.

Even then, my search did not stop. And at last, the apparently lifeless tree of hope was adorned with tender leaves! It so happened that one day, I stood before Bhagwan Ramana Maharishi’s photo and expressed my anguish in words. 'Paul Brunton has written in his book “A search in Secret India”, “Please arrange my meeting with a realized soul like you”. Paul Brunton’s request was to Kanchi Mahaswami. On being requested thus Kanchi Mahaswami directed Brunton to Ramana Bhagwan. That means both are identical. So now bless me with Mahaswami’s darshan in a living form'.

Shri Ramana Maharshi responded favourably to my prayer.

Once I had gone to Prof. Gokhale. He lives in Shewade lane in Pune. The purpose of the visit was to have discussion with him on some religious and spiritual subjects: and if possible to talk to him about Swamiji. At that time Gokhale’s cousin who works as a Brahmin priest came to him. Prof.Gokhale introduced him to me. And I put the same question to that stranger - the question that had been agitating my mind. “Sir, Do you know where Kanchi peeth- Sankaracharya is staying at present in Maharashtra?”

And the gentle man said “Yes, he has gone to Ugar. At Ugar one sannyasin is performing Gayatri yagna. There it is said this old Sankaracharya has come. But I do not know the exact address.

I was overjoyed. My joy knew no bounds. And I exclaimed, “Where is Ugar? With whom should I enquire to get the address? How to reach there and where to get down? I bombarded him with question after question. The priest replied, “This Ugar is a small place near Sangli. There is Divekar’s Mahadev temple. Gayatri Yagna ia going on in that temple. You better write a letter to Shri Divekar for the required information. Beyond this I do not know much”.

With great effort, but as speedily as I could, I reached home. My mind prayed continually, “Oh Swami, let me have your darshan. Enough of this hide and seek game!”

Only one reply paid postcard was available at home. On that postcard I wrote the typical address. “Shri Divekar, Mahadev mandir, Ugar. Near sangli.” I wrote my address on another card, so shri Divekar might send the reply post in haste. “How to reach Ugar? Where to stay? Were my enquires in the letter.

In spite of there being two places of the same name - factory Ugar and Ugar khurd, the letter reached its destination. The postman had done his job correctly mine being an open letter. Shri Divekar sent the reply immediately.

There was only one state bus from Pune. That too is leaving Pune at 4.30 a.m.! That bus used to reach Ugar at about 1.30 in the afternoon, that is after about nine hours. How could I go all alone? My mother was very much worried. That was the problem. But all the obstacles were removed by Swamiji. When I had gone to the bus stand at about 4 p.m to purchase the ticket for the journey to be performed the next day, I met unexpectedly one of my friends. “I too will accompany you” she said. Only two tickets were available. We had those last two tickets. Next day in the morning my friend’s husband came to the bus stand to see us off! At about 2 p.m we reached Ugar. That blessed day was 1st January, 1980 !

After having prayed to Shri Ramana Bhagwan, within eight days I found myself in the presence of Mahaswami Chandrasekarendra Saraswati. I stood before Him with folded hands! The yearning of 18 long years was getting drenched in the free flow of my tears!!

I found Swamiji sitting in a small cart joined to a cycle taking His hands and feet closely to His body, sitting in a crouching position. He was staring at me. But I could not look into His eyes. While performing the ST bus journey, I had written a short letter in broken Sanskrit addressed to Swamiji. Swamiji was looking without batting His eyelids. And I could not control my tears!! Tears flowed down my cheeks freely.

In this state 5 to 7 minutes passed. Someone told me, “ There in the hut like room Yati Narayanananda is seated. Go and sit there.”

I sat there. Immediately one attendant of Swamiji came and asked, “what is your name?”

“ Shashikala”, I replied.

“If that is your name, then perhaps Mahaswami is calling you. He observes silence today. That is why he is making a sign of the crescent moon on the head. So come.”

I went there and made pranam touching the ground with my head. The thought crossed my mind, “ Rev. Swamiji, for 18 long years I waited for your darshan, but you are hiding your holy feet. How can I take a look at your holy feet?” And the next moment Swamiji got down from the cart. He stood before me! I repeatedly touched the ground with my forehead. I felt my mind was being X-rayed. Then another desire came up. Again I started the dialogue with Swamiji in my mind. (The dialogue without uttering a word. All that was “Mounasamvaadha:”)

Author: Smt Shashikala Gore, Pune
Source: Moments of a Lifetime 


Darshan after 18 years - Part 2

“Rev.Swamiji, today is the day of observing silence, how then will I hear you speak! Do speak something”.

Suddenly, Swamiji started for the cottage of Shri Narayanananda, He sat outside the cottage and started telling Narayanananda something by making signs. Shri Narayanananda glanced the threshold of the room at a small stand specially made for keeping the holy books. He kept a volume on it. Then he started reading the holy book. Whatever he was reading was being explained by Mahaswami at length in chaste Sanskrit. Swamiji had fulfilled my desire to hear him speak!! But how wanton man’s mind is ! I could not help asking Swami’s attendant in a low voice, “Today Mahaswami observes silence, even then he is speaking”.

The attendant spoke slowly, “He is not speaking in a worldly language meant for the practical life. He is speaking in the language of the gods ( Shwewaani) – Sanskrit. Moreover he is explaining the meaning of the Upanishads. The Upanishads are not man-made. They form the part of the Vedic literature. So by explaining the Vedic literature in Sanskrit, the vow of silence in practical life is not broken.”

Paramacharya Mahaswami made the most ordinary lady devotee hear his speech without breaking his vow of silence! In how easy a manner and how quickly do the realized souls fulfill the desire of their devotees! Besides, that miracle remains a secret with that particular devotee only. Others do not get even the faintest idea about it!

I went for Mahaswami’s darshan again at 8 p.m. At that time He was sitting in his small cart in a crouching position – His hands and feet drawn close to His body like a tortoise neck bent low and eyes closed.

Along with my friend I went to Shri Divekar, had our dinner and went to sleep. “Swamiji gets up early in the morning at about 3 to 3.30 a.m. At that time Suvasinis perform His aarati with niranjan, to have this darshan is considered to be extreme good fortune", Mrs. Divekar told us. Both of us decided to have that darshan. But the next day, we got up at 5 a.m. due to exhaustion caused by journey.

We could not have the first darshan which is called “Vishwaroopadarshan.” We felt bad for that. After taking bath we started for the temple. At that time Mrs. Divekar handed over a tray to me. In that tray, there were all the things (flowers, matchbox, haridra, kumkum, deepam etc.) needed for pooja at the time of darshan. Mrs. Divekar said, ‘Forget about Vishwaroopadarshan. But when you take swami‘s darshan forget not to perform His aarati with deepam. That will do.”

We went to the temple with that tray. On that day there was severe cold at Ugar (20 Jan, 1980). Even though we had put on the sweaters having full sleeves, shawls over it and the kerchief tied to the head, we were shivering with cold. There, we learnt, Swamiji had not got up till that time. We looked through the grills fixed to the front part of the cart. Swamiji was found sitting in the same crouching position as he Had been seen the previous day at 8’0’ clock. He had only the loin cloth. There was severe and biting cold and Swamiji sat in the cold cart, unconcerned. The level of our knowledge was not adequate enough to understand whether the Swami was sleeping or experiencing Samadhi.

The time of the bus for the return journey to Pune was 7.30 a.m., so we asked the attendant when Swamiji was going to get up. He replied, “Everyday He gets up before 3.30 a.m. why has He not got up today? I don’t understand. We cannot predict anything regarding Him!” I started praying earnestly to Swami in my mind. “Swamiji, please get up. I cannot miss the bus for the return journey”. Please get up to bless us.”

There was some movement in the cart. One more suvasini was ready to perform aarati. What she felt was beyond me. She said, “We belong to this place. Today, have Vishwaroop darshan for yourself. You will acquire great merit.” My mind was full of doubts. I said, “I am a maiden. A suvasini alone has to perform the aarati first, So how can I do it?” My words did not reach her ears. She said in a commanding voice, “ Light the deepam immediately, and perform the aarati, .be quick……be quick… Swami is looking at you.” In my mind I said to myself, “Taking this to be your order, I am performing the aarati Swami, If this is not proper, please forgive me.” And on that day I had “Vishwaroopdarshan.”

Unasked, I had the benefit of the blessings! My joy knew no bounds. Within 10 to 15 minutes Swamiji came after taking bath. He sat near the door of the cottage. I performed the aarati and recited Shrimad Shankaracharya’s “Shiva manas pooja” with eyes full of tears and the voice choked with emotion. I did it in the very presence of “Parabramha Shiva” Himself!

Swami listened with rapt attention with a fixed gaze. I bowed down to Him and uttered one sentence in Sanskrit – “Swami Maharaja, Mama Maatha Vridha. Saa api apekshathe Bhavatha: Darshanam. Saa athra aaganthum na shaknothi. Atha: thasyaa: namaskaram ahameva karomi.” (Swami Maharaj, my mother is old. She too has a desire of your darshan. It is not possible for her to come here, so I am making pranam on her behalf also.”)

Thereupon Swamiji responded favourably and smiled such a sweet smile that it is next to impossible to describe it in words.

Raising His hand in blessing, He permitted us to leave. We reached the bus stand. We were in a great hurry. And we were at the bus-stand on time. All that was possible due to Swami’s blessings. The bus arrived a little late that day. Had it not been so, we would have missed the bus.

What a darshan it was after having kept me waiting for 18 long years!

Author: Smt Shashikala Gore, Pune
Source: Moments of a Lifetime
Darshan after 18 years - Part 3
What a darshan it was - after having kept me waiting for 18 long years! It was with a longing to have darshan again and again!

After three months, my brother came unexpectedly from Bombay in a car. It was because of his insistence that we went to Gondavale, the next day. He wanted to take our mother there for darshan. We reached Gondavale in the afternoon. At that time, Mahaswami had reached Miraj from Ugar. Since we had a car, we decided to go to Miraj so that mother would have Swami's darshan. We started from Miraj from Gondavale in the afternoon and reached Mirajkar's garden at 5 pm. That was Akshya Tritiya day.

That means that at the time of leave taking at Ugar, Swamiji's nodding His head in a happy mood was an assurance indeed! Swamiji had given darshan to my old mother, His Grace brought her in comfort, in her son's car. It was not a planned programme. Even then, everything went well. Moreover, from the beginning to the end, there were no obstructions of any sort.


In 1992, I got acquainted with Mr and Mrs Walimbe from Satara. In course of the conversation, Mr.Walimbe said, 'In my life, I suffer from only one misery. My virtuous daughter has no issue. She got married 10/11 years back'.

I said, 'Kanchi Shankaracharya Swami had been in Satara for about eleven months. He is called a Living God - I have experienced it. Really, He is God manifest. So long as He was at Satara, I had come several times from Pune for His darshan. I had various experiences. One experiences infinite peace by His mere darshan'. Mr.Walimbe said, 'In spite of my being in Satara, I had taken His darshan very few times. We had no idea that so great a person had been staying in our town'.

I narrated some of my unexpected experiences to Mr.Walimbe and said, 'Even now Swamiji is there at Kanchi - Please go there and seek His blessings for your daughter'.

In 1993, Mr.Walimbe went to Kanchi along with his daughter. He told Swamiji about his suffering. It was Mr.Walimbe's extreme good fortune that Swamiji Himself gave one coconut with His blessings. On reaching Satara, Shri Walimbe gave it to his daughter. No one knew what to do with the coconut. His daughter kept the coconut on the loft.

After one year, when Mr.Walimbe went to Kanchi again, Swamiji had left His mortal body. The 70th successor to the Kanchi Peeth enquired about Mr.Walimbe's daughter. Mr.Walimbe regretefully replied, 'No success as yet'.

Thereupon, the 70th Sankaracharya, Shri Shankara Vijayendra Saraswathi replied, 'the fruit (the whole coconut) given by Mahaswami with His own hands can never be fruitless. What have you done with it? Keep it for worship forever. Mahaswami's blessings will never come untrue'.

Shri Walimbe's daughter started worshipping it daily. Within one year, there were favourable signs. In due course, she gave birth to a male child.

Author: Smt Shashikala Gore, Pune
Source: Moments of a Lifetime

............................Darshan after 18 years - Part 4

Swami Maharaj went from Miraj to Satara. He stayed there in Shankaracharya Math for eleven months. About that time, most unexpectedly, my mind started doing japa. The mind started repeating the name very frequently of itself - without any effort on my part. That japa was "Swaminath, Swaminath". How it got started and why was it being repeated in my mind - these things are still beyond all logic. With the japa, the thoughts about Mahaswami's mother started coming to the mind. What would have been her thoughts when her twelve year old son became a sanyasin? How could she relish the sweet dishes prepared on festival days? In severe cold, her beloved child is moving with a loin cloth - would not that severe cold affect his health? With such thoughts, she might be definitely getting restless. No matter how much I tried, these thoughts did not leave me. Every time, these same thoughts repeatedly troubled my mind. Along with these thoughts, the Japa (Swaminath, Swaminath) continued without stopping. "Swaminath, how can you bear the cold? Who is there to take care of you to provide a blanket to cover your body?" These thoughts revolved ceaselessly in the mind! "It is because I find cold hard to bear that such thoughts are coming to my mind." Saying thus, I tried to comfort and convince myself. All along, I had no idea that Swamiji's pre-monastic name was "Swaminath!"

At last, I brought ochre coloured wool and started weaving a shawl - good enough for covering the body from the shoulders. I made up my mind to give it to Mahaswami. I learnt He never accepted anything from anybody. I started repeating Shiv Nam with every stitch so that Swami might accept it. The shawl got ready - one lakh Japa was also completed. At that time, Swamiji had come to Satara. I went to Satara with the shawl. One student of mine accompanied me.

At about ten, we reached the Shankaracharya Math where Swami stayed. The math is on a hillock, in a very dilapidated condition. There are about 25 steps. Both of us started climbing the steps. That moment someone came from the Math above in haste and asked, "Have you come from Pune? As I replied in affirmative, the staranger said, "Be quick, Swami is waiting".

Both of us reached the math almost running. The Swami was standing in a small, dark room. He appeared to be waiting for someone - holding the bars of the window. I pushed the shawl through the window bars. On the shawl, I put the tulsi mala, made from home grown tulsi leaves. I had brought a letter written in Sanskrit. I gave it to the attendant. In my mind, the prayer continued so that Swami might accept the shawl. Quickly, Swami went back about 12-15 steps and bending a little, came running like a child to the window. His face, lighted up with indescribably sweet smile, looked very attractive. He pulled the shawl towards Him through the window bars. My letter in Sanskrit was being read. The people surrounding Him listened. But Swamiji had understood everything without listening! He pressed the shawl close to His chest - as if to breathe its sweet odour. He rubbed His face in the shawl many times and walking slowly, went inside the room!

The wonder is, that after this, "Swaminath" rising up continuously in the mind automatically stopped. After some months, while reading a book, I came to know Swami's pre-monastic name was "Swaminath".


When Swamiji was at Satara, whenever possible, I used to start at 6.30 am from Pune, for Satara. I used to reach Shankaracharya Math at Satara at about 8.30/ 9 am. I used to take rice with curd with me.

Once there was not sufficient time for getting lunch ready. My mother was worried. She asked me, "Now today, where will you have your lunch? What would you get for lunch?" I replied, "Why do your worry? Swamiji is there to take care".

At Satara, while I was standing for Swamiji's darshan, one woman from behind enquired, "Where do you come from? I have seen you here many times".

I told her my name and the place I came from. Thereupon she said, "You Gore's, what place do you originally belong to?". I said, 'Devagad, Ratnagiri. But now since many years, we have been in Pune". That woman wanted to know what my relationship with Rajaram Gore was. I replied, "My father. But his name Rajaram is known to family members only. On paper he is Narayan. But how do you know his name?"

That woman explained, "I am from Devagad. You paternal aunt is my friend. Rajaram, being clever, was known to everybody".

I was overjoyed. That woman was as happy as one who meets someone from her mother's place. She enquired, "Where would you have your lunch?". I replied, "Here in the Math - rice with curry is served as prasad. I will have it and return to Pune by the bus at about 2 pm".

That woman did not allow me to have lunch in the Math. She took me to her two room house with great love. She prepared pudding and fried cakes. She served the lunch with heartfelt love.

On reaching home in the evening, I told my mother, 'You were worried unnecessarily today. Through Swamiji's grace, I had fried cakes with pudding for lunch - that too served with love, as a paternal aunt would do".

Once while standing before Swamiji with folder hands, I thought, "I had to wait for His punya darshan for 18 years. Now, Swamiji you have to grant me darshan atleast 18 times". I had first darshan at Ugar, on 19 January in 1980 and the last darshan was in Kanchi on 3rd May in 1993. In addition to these two times, through Mahaswami's grace, it was possible to have His darshan 18 more times. Truly, the measure of the great soul's abundant grace - it not only gets filled to the brim but also overflows!

Author: Smt Shashikala Gore, Pune
Source: Moments of a Lifetime

Darshan after 18 years - Part 5
Once I started from Pune, there was a cold wave. The mercury had dropped to 6 degree Celsius. Cold used to make me suffer much. But ignoring my mother's advice, I started for Satara for the benefit of darshan and reached there at 8.00 am. I had Swami's darshan. I recited in my mind the daily prayers. In such severe cold, none else had come for darshan. Presently, one attendant from Mahaswami soon came and said, "What would you prefer - tea or coffee?". I said, 'I do not want anything'. Thereupon, the attendant said in Tamil-Hindi, 'You will have to have something". I was totally confused. But I did not give any answer. I thought, "This attendant has come from Swamigal's room. He would not insist in this manner without Swami's permission. Swamiji knows without my telling Him, that this body needs some hot beverage". I kept standing in the same confused state of mind. Immediately the attendant came again and pointing his finger at the underground room meant for cooking Swamiji's meals, said, "Go there, in that room and take the milk kept in the pot which is near the wall". Without uttering a word, climbing down the steps, I went to the underground room and drank the hot cow milk kept in the aluminum glass. "Do you need some more sugar?" asked the attendant who followed me to the room. Sugar in the nectar-like milk? I said, "No".

The cook house where none were allowed to enter, where orthodox rules about touching the food were very strictly followed, in that very room by whose permission did I get hot and sweet (nectar-like) cow milk? My eyes were full of tears. I had that prasad! What a great care was taken of an ordinary girl by a sanyasi respected by all in the world. In which incarnation did I acquire the merit to deserve all this?


Once I had a desire that I should sign a devotional song in the presence of Swamiji. There was a continuous flow of persons coming for Swamiji's darshan. It was next to impossible to find Him all alone. My desire remained unfullfilled. I was to leave for Pune by bus in the afternoon. Before leaving, I stood near the window of Swamigal's room and came to know there was none nearby! Swamiji sat near the back wall in a crouching position.

In that dark room, there was a lamp giving faint light. Summoning all my courage, I started singing an old devotional song. Swamiji knew many languages, of course, Marathi also. I started singing and Swamiji came to the window very slowly with a small lamp in His hand. There were only the window bars between us. Swami listened with rapt attention, staring at me. I was singing with folded hands. Why did I remember that particular song? That was my prayer, "Oh Lord Shiv Shankar, help me cross the river of Maya!" What better prayer than this could there be? Swamiji himself suggested it and made me sing it! Even today, I fully believe this to be true.


One of my students, Sheela Khare once accompanied me to Satara for Swamiji's darshan. At that time, 'Ten Upanishads" with meaning, in two parts were available for sale in the Satara math. I had purchased the books and Sheila had known it. The price was not much. She purchased the books from the Math and placed them before Swami, so as to get back the books touched by Swamiji. Swamiji put the books in His room. Sheela told the attendant, " Request Swami to return the books, with His blessings", but Swamiji was reluctant to return the books! Swamiji never accepted anything from anybody. Why is it He is not giving back the books! The attendant requested twice - thrice. But Swamiji made a sign to indicate that he had kept the books! At last we returned. The puzzle remained unsolved.

The next day, while teaching the students in the Shankaracharya Math, Satara, Swamiji said, "Yesterday I took away the books from the girl. The reason is that our religion has not permitted women to recite the Vedas. The girl was young, she might recite the portions in the books. Perhaps that would affect her life adversely. I did not return the books, so that she might not come to grief".

Is it not that the scientists in the west have started admitting that recitation of mantras result in having a definite effect on the atmosphere and the individuals?

Author: Smt Shashikala Gore, Pune
Source: Moments of a Lifetime


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